Following the arrest of a suspect Friday afternoon after a break-in at Scott House two days earlier, the university shared insights on how to prevent similar incidents from occurring.
University spokesperson Dave Isaacs couldn’t provide The Lantern with the frequency of break-ins into the residence halls but emphasized that it is a concern. Isaacs said staying aware of who tries to enter residence halls and of one’s surroundings are two of the best ways students can prevent future incidents.
“You can only get into your residence hall by swiping your BuckID. We have that security system set up very specifically to prevent unauthorized people from getting in, Isaacs said. “I realize that we feel we’re being nice by holding the door open for someone, but we’re also opening the door for a potentially serious security issue.”
The university issued a safety notuice Friday after a male suspect followed students into Scott House and proceeded to the women’s restrooms. The suspect, who is not affiliated with Ohio State, was arrested the same day as the notice.
The biggest issue leading to residence hall break-ins is tailgating — the act of holding the door open for someone who has unauthorized access to a building — which has continuously been an issue for residence hall security, Isaacs said.
“The best we can do is continually remind students: Don’t let anyone into your residence hall who doesn’t have access,” Isaacs said. “We constantly remind students not to allow tailgating. We cover it in hall meetings, we have signage up, we have digital signage up in those buildings that have digital signs. It is constantly reiterated among our whole staff.”
Isaacs said newer residence halls are designed to spot unwanted guests.
“We have designed, particularly in the more recently built in the last 20 years or so, residence halls so that there is front desk view of people coming in,” Isaacs said.
University Police Chief Kimberly Spears-McNatt said students should look out for one another and take action if they spot someone tailgating, which she said has been a consistent issue.
“If you see someone that you may think should not be there, don’t approach them, but don’t hesitate to reach out to the police division and let us come investigate and determine if that person is actually a student, staff or faculty and do they actually belong in that residence hall?” Spears-McNatt said.
Spears-McNatt couldn’t provide a number of dorm break-ins per semester but said whenever an unauthorized person is inside a residence hall causing problems, University Police will act immediately.
“Continue to make sure that if they see something, say something, don’t hesitate to report it. We want them to feel safe on campus and the importance of looking out for each other,”
Spears-McNatt said. “We want the students to feel safe, that’s their home in a residence hall, and so anything that we can do to help that and help each other.”
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